Q&A With Khoren Khatchatourian, The Flamez Truck
Most college students are gearing up for a brand new semester of classes right now. But for two local Southern California students, they’re balancing their studies with running a food truck. College students Khoren Khatchatourian and Arthur Papuchyan started the Flamez Truck this past summer and they’re taking the Hot Cheetos trend to the next level. The truck, which can be regularly be found in Sun Valley, serves up chip-coated elote, tater tots, chicken sandwiches, french fries and more. Khoren attends UC Irvine and Arthur is a student at Glendale Community College.
“Basically, anything you get, you can make it dank, which means you add nacho cheese and chips to it and you have a bunch of different flavors of chips that you can add including hot Cheetos, Takis, Doritos,” Khoren said. “Every week we actuality ask for customers, what chips they want to see next and I switch up two different flavors every week.”
I stopped by the truck’s Sun Valley location on Glenoaks Boulevard and tried both — they were super delicious and surprisingly hot! So get ready for some spice. I got the dank elote on a cob and in a cup, as well as the dank fries with Hot Cheetos and Doritos. To keep track of their locations, you can follow them on Twitter at @flamez_la . (They also happen to be Ricky & Morty fans and that is a great show everyone should watch.)
Khoren was nice enough to answer a few questions about the truck during my visit. Check it out below!
Where did the inspiration for this truck come from?
I saw this one elote guy who literally only sells elotes and elotes in a cup. He’s open every day from 10 to 2 a.m. in LA and every day he has a line for about two to three hours. I thought to myself, I think we can put some stuff together and make these elotes more approachable in a restaurant kind of way. We ended up getting that idea together and then putting Hot Cheetos on the elote. It was amazing and then after that we ended up putting Hot Cheetos on everything. Kind of worked out.
You guys have been around a month now. What has the journey been like from going from idea to now actual, fully conceptualized food truck?
Honestly, it still hasn’t fully hit me when I think about it. At this age having a whole food truck going, it’s been pretty crazy. Looking back a month ago we had the truck just completely white, nothing. A week before that we didn’t even have a truck and now we have customers coming every day surprisingly like regulars.
I told a bunch of my friends, “Yo, I just see a lot of potential in this. Let’s do it.” Then one of my friends was like, “Okay you know let’s do it.” So, I just put all the time into researching everything, seeing what it takes, if it’s worth the effort and everything and then, it took us honestly not too long, like after like two months of going through all the permit hassles and everything we ended up getting it together.
What is your bestseller? What item is your personal favorite?
I’d say the best seller and also my favorite is definitely the fries, cause they’re kind of regular fries but they taste like curly fries at the same time, and just with our whole nacho cheese and chips together they go really well together. Our Dodger Dog has been getting really popular and a lot of attention as well. We give them the chance to add chips on it and elote as well.
How is it balancing both going to school and running a food truck?
So, I still have a month left until my school session starts but my co-owner [Arthur] just started about a week ago and he’s been part-timing. I’ve been working most of it. He says it’s pretty overwhelming, but it can take some getting used to. He’s like, I’m just in class and while I’m learning in the back of my head just like, “Oh my god, my business is open right now, and I’m not there” kind of thing.
What kind of chips has people requested so far? Any unique ones?
Some weird requests have been salt and vinegar chips, sour cream. The most popular for sure have been Hot Cheetos and Takis though. People love spicy.